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Rishi Sunak wearing a suit and tie sitting behind a desk.
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The United Kingdom has its third leader in seven weeks. Rishi Sunak took office on Oct. 25 after Liz Truss RESIGNED from office.

Truss resigned after just 44 days in office, making her Britain’s shortest-serving prime minister in history. She was also the last prime minister sworn in by Queen Elizabeth II, only two days before the queen died at the age of 96. Truss said she resigned after she lost the confidence of her political party due to a failed budgeting issue that hurt her country’s economy. Her brief time as prime minister followed a difficult end to Boris Johnson’s time in the role.

Following her departure, there was a brief leadership election process that led to Sunak being selected to serve as the first British prime minister of Asian descent. Sunak’s leadership was confirmed when he met King Charles III at Buckingham Palace. Like Truss, Sunak was appointed by Conservative lawmakers and not elected by U.K. citizens. This is because the party with the most lawmakers in the House of Commons, the elected house of the U.K. Parliament, is able to appoint a new leader without holding a nationwide election.

Sunak is a banker and Britain’s former finance minister. He is 42 years old, which makes him the youngest prime minster in more than 200 years. He acknowledged the challenges the country faces in a brief speech after being elected.

“The United Kingdom is a great country, but there is no doubt we face a profound economic challenge,” Sunak said. “We now need stability and unity, and I will make it my utmost priority to bring our party and our country together because that is the only way we will overcome the challenges we face and build a better more prosperous future for our children and our grandchildren. I pledge that I will serve you with integrity and humility, and I will work day in, day out to deliver for the British people.”

3 turtles in a pond. Turtles Can Talk? Only If You Listen Closely!

Oh sure, there are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or King Yertle the Turtle, but biologists really didn’t have proof that turtles could talk—until now!

Dozens of vertebrates (creatures with a backbone and spinal cord) long-believed to have no voice, including turtles, recently have been discovered to “speak,” according to a team of researchers!

Gabriel Jorgewich-Cohen, working on his Ph.D. at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, wondered if animals thought to be MUTE (unable to produce sounds through vocalizations) just might be the quiet types!

Using a microphone and a recorder, he started listening to his pet turtles. He found that his turtles regularly made several different sounds. A research team, including John Wiens, an evolutionary biologist with the University of Arizona, started collecting sounds from all sorts of turtle species and also studied lungfish (a primitive type of fish), lizards from New Zealand called tuataras, and strange, legless amphibians called caecilians. In all, the scientists listened to 53 species. The team’s results were published in the Oct. 25 edition of Nature Communications.

Jorgewich-Cohen and his team discovered that many of these creatures with lungs, once believed to be mute, actually could vocalize. And their study hints that this ability may have evolved from a common ancient ancestor of all lunged vertebrates!

Dr. Wiens doesn’t agree with all of the team’s conclusions, though, pointing out that more research needs to be done to make sure that these vocalizations are indeed used to communicate with each other.

Novmeber 2022